The TSA’s so effective at preventing terrorists from boarding planes that we should employ them to run “security” in other transportation venues like buses and trains – at least according to a new bipartisan piece of legislation in the Senate that’s been drawn up in response to the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey. From Bloomberg:
Several U.S. senators want the TSA to focus more attention and resources on rail, highway, and marine transportation, which would mean greater security oversight at such places as Amtrak stations and Megabus coach stops. A bipartisan bill introduced Thursday by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) would require the TSA to use a risk-based security model for these transport modes and to budget money based on those risks. It would require a wider use of the agency’s terrorist watch list by train operators and more detailed passenger manifests along with tighter screening of marine employees. The legislation also would increase the TSA’s canine use by as many as 70 dog-handler teams for surface transportation.
Of course, what I’m envisioning are the same blue-shirted, latex-gloved agents with the body scanners and pat downs we see – and feel – at airports. But sponsors are promising that that’s not what they have in mind. “This is very much not creating for bus or rail transportation the [security] model that exists for aviation,” as one committee spokesman ensured.
According to a public statement by Senator Thune, the bill “addresses gaps in TSA’s approach to assessing security risks and will help the agency better fulfill its role as a hub of analysis, planning, and information.”
As to why Congress and the Senate would ever think that delegating more responsibilities to a disaster of an agency, that’s par for the course. The TSA doesn’t need more responsibilities. It doesn’t need to budget its money better. It doesn’t need more money or personnel. It just needs to not exist.